Lottery spending could get TV vote

The Big Lottery Fund is in talks with ITV about a programme that would enable the public to vote on how it should spend its cash.

The working title of the show is reportedly The People's Millions. It is intended to give viewers the chance to choose the most deserving causes, with sums as high as £50m on offer.

The idea, proposed by the Lottery Fund, is just one of the suggestions being considered to counteract the recent barrage of negative publicity about the distributor.

The Community Fund, which was merged with the New Opportunities Fund to form the Big Lottery Fund, was vilified in the media for awarding grants to unpopular causes such as asylum seeker groups and charities working with prostitutes. The Big Lottery Fund has now come under fire for being too close to government.

Although the Lottery Bill failed to make it onto the statute book, the fund is pressing ahead with proposals in the Bill to make it more responsive to public opinion.

A spokeswoman for the Big Lottery Fund said: "It's just one of the avenues we are considering after a consultation to increase public involvement."

ITV confirmed that discussions were taking place. A spokeswoman added: "It is very early days. We are in discussions with the Big Lottery Fund for some sort of programming around our 50th anniversary in September."

The fund recently came under fire when the Government said lottery money would be used to set up the School Food Trust, following Jamie Oliver's campaign to improve school dinners.

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